Halloween was always one of my favorite times of the year growing up in Ireland, and it should come as no surprise that my best memories are related to home baking and fun traditions shared around the dinner table. My mother would always hide hidden charms in our favorite Halloween baked goods as a tradition, and amongst those treats she always included a wee home made BarmBrack loaf and an apple tart.
Barmbrack is a traditional warm and spicy fruit loaf that is absolutely delicious hot from the oven with loads of creamy Irish butter – and of course, apple tart is an apple pie here in America! So now you know!
So, here is it to share – my family recipe that’s enjoyed in Ireland this time of year.
This name “brack” comes from the Irish word “breac” meaning speckled (the speckles are the fruits and candied peel baked in the bread). I used to be so excited to wrap tiny items in silver foil for my mother to hide in the sweet bread. All of the items we would bury in our baking had a hidden meaning, for example a ring (for love), money (for good fortune), a button (bachelor), a thimble (spinster), rag (poverty). I always wanted to get the ring for love and was devastated if I had the slice with a rag or thimble! It was all in good fun and made great memories shared together around the kitchen table. Hope you enjoy this recipe and maybe even event your own ‘lucky charms’
4 cups of all purpose flour
½ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp nutmeg
¼ tsp of salt
½ cup soft brown sugar
4 ½ tsp of dry active yeast (2 packets)
4 oz unsalted butter
1 ¼ cups of warm milk
1 egg (beaten)
1 cup of golden sultanas (golden raisins)
1 cup of dried currants
¼ cup of candied orange or lemon peel (finely chopped)
(for the glaze)
1 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp warm water
How to make it
Butter a 9’ round cake pan and set aside.
Measure and combine all the dry ingredients in a large bowl including the flour, spices, salt brown sugar, dry active yeast and the dried fruits and candied peel.
Combine all the wet ingredients in electric bread mixer including the warm milk, melted butter and egg. Slowly add the dry ingredients 1 cup at a time and mix to combine.
Transfer the sticky dough into the prepared pan and pat the dough in place. Cover with a clean dish towel and set aside in a warm place for about an hour for the dough to rise.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F and then bake for about 30 minutes (to test the bread insert a skewer in the center and should come away clean).
Dissolve the sugar in boiling water to make the glaze and brush over the bread. Return the bread to the oven for a further few minutes until the loaf is glistening.
Transfer to a rack to cool and serve with Irish creamery butter.
Summer loving is happening right now because when the Peaches are in season they are juicy and delicious!
You know the kind of peach that explodes when you bite into it, and the juice literally drips down your chin? Oh yes…it’s that time! Sometimes though, this can be counter productive when you are making a summer peach crisp and there is just too much juice when you bake your crisp (or crumble as we call it in Ireland) so, my suggestion is to allow the fruit to macerate in sugar and then strain and reduce the resulting juice before pouring over the peaches and baking. That should do the trick…
Oh, and I do admit that this recipe does not skimp on the butter ( the magic ingredient!) but the recipe is essentially ‘gluten free’ if you purchase gluten free oats. So, come on, this must count for something less to feel guilty about when reaching for the second bowl? Right??…. and don’t forget the vanilla ice cream (if anything is worth doing its worth doing right)!
Enjoy these summer days and the bountiful fruits in season!
Peach Crisp with Buttery Oat and Pecan Topping
(for the filling)
6 cups of fresh summer peaches (cut in to bit size pieces peeled and stone removed)
¼ cup sugar plus 3 Tbsp
2 Tbsp corn starch
½ vanilla pod (split in half and seeds scraped out) or tsp of vanilla bean paste
Unsalted Kerrygold butter (for greasing pan)
(for the topping)
1 ½ oz oats (use gluten free oats if liked)
¾ cups of ground almonds
¾ cups pecans (chopped)
½ cup light brown sugar
6 oz cold Kerrygold unsalted butter (1 ½ sticks)
Pinch of sea salt
Vanilla ice-cream (for serving)
How to make it
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and butter a 9 inch size baking dish.
Combine the peaches with the sugar and allow macerate for 30 minutes. Place the peaches in a sieve over a small saucepan to drain the juice. Simmer the juices in a small saucepan to reduce slightly (the liquid should be less than half a cup). Allow to cool slightly before whisking in the cornstarch and vanilla bean pods. Toss the peaches in the infused peachy sugar syrup.
Add the fruit to the prepared dish and spread out evenly.
To make the topping place the almond flour and oats in the food processor and whizz to break down the oats a little. Stir in the sugar and chopped nuts and then rub in the butter with your hands until all the ingredients are fully incorporated.
Sprinkle the crumble mixture over the peach mixture.
Bake for about 30-35 minutes or until the crumble topping is golden brown and the fruit is bubbling.
What could possibly make a flavor packed grass fed burger better? Try adding some grass fed Irish butter? Kneading in some grated frozen grass fed Irish butter to your burger makes the juiciest flavor packed mouthful ever!
Get this...Cooking Light Magazine said that lean grass fed beef has a nutrition profile more similar to salmon than grain fed beef! – wow! Cooking light also mentions grass fed beef has half the saturated fat of dark meat chicken! So, with all that said we could afford to add just a little grass fed butter? I mean what could be wrong adding more good fat? Please allow me to share the secret of one of the best burgers you will ever make (or taste)? A ‘wee bit ‘ of Irish goodness goes a very long way…
Grass Fed Butter Burger
(recipe makes 4 ¼ Lb patties)
(for the Pattie)
1 lb lean grass fed ground sirloin
3 Tbsp (grated frozen or very cold unsalted Kerrygold Irish butter)
¼ tsp kosher salt
¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp garlic powder
1 Tbsp canola oil
(for the burger)
4 slices of Kerrygold Dubliner cheese
3 Tbsp tomato ketchup
4 Brioche buns (toasted)
4 slices of thickly sliced tomato (optional)
4 slices of Bibb lettuce (optional)
How to make them
Preheat the grill to medium high.
Caramelize the onion in a little canola or grape seed oil for a few minutes to soften. Set aside and cool.
Break up the sirloin and sprinkle with the salt and pepper, garlic powder and stir in the caramelized cooled onions..
Use a box grater to grate the butter grate directly over the ground sirloin keeping everything very cold (try not to touch with hands to prevent the butter from melting).
Gently knead the butter in to the burger and then divide in to 4 patties.
Cook the patties for 3 minutes on one side and then turn top with cheese and then tun them over and grill for another 2-4 minutes.
To serve toast the bun and top the patties with tomato ketchup, bib lettuce and freshly sliced tomato. Place filling inside of bun and enjoy!
Holding Shamrock and Peach cook book (new addition)
Many thanks for the interview with NPR that took place just time for me to announce my 2nd edition printing of the Shamrock and Peach, which is now available!
It felt so natural to share my passion with Atlanta writer Beth Ware who identified immediately with the Southern connections to Irish cuisine, and it was a joy to share my passions for food and Irish culture with her. – Hopefully you have had a chance to check out the article, but if not see the link below:
So, the new edition is literally hot off the presses, and I would be glad to sign and send out copies through my website, in addition to the book being available through the usual outlets. I am also pleased to share all the recipes that were featured on my recent Kerrygold tour with Aprons Publix cooking schools, which were also posted on the NPR website …enjoy!
Irish Kale Salad
Pan Seared Irish Salmon, Colcannon and Boxty
Sticky Toffee Puddings
So, a belated happy St. Patrick’s day to all my followers and as I always say..
Certain smells and flavors conjure up the essence of Christmas! Just like the aromas of the spices baking in the oven of my favorite Gingerbread Scones. Gingerbread is an Old World recipe that has somehow become synonymous with the Christmas Season around the world including both Ireland and America. These Gingerbread Scones are perfect for holiday brunch are always a hit especially when served with Lemon Curd and Fresh Whipped Cream. Enjoy the season and the spices of Christmas.. It’s the time!
Gingerbread Scones with Clotted Lemon Cream
Gingerbread scone ingredients (makes ½ dozen):
1 lb. (4 cups) self-rising flour
1 tsp. baking powder
2 oz. (¼ cup) dark brown sugar
¼ tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground powdered ginger
½ tsp. nutmeg
¾ tsp. cinnamon
6 oz. (¾ cup) butter (cold and cut into small pieces)
1 egg (beaten)
4 fl. oz. (½ cup) buttermilk
2 fl. oz. (¼ cup) molasses
egg wash (1 egg beaten with a little water or milk)
How to make them:
Preheat your oven to 425° F.
Sift the flour with the baking powder then combine the remaining dry ingredients together in a food processor or a large mixing bowl.
Cut the cold butter into the mixed dry ingredients then rub the mixture together with your fingertips or add them slowly to a food processor to form a breadcrumb-like texture.
Beat the buttermilk, egg, and molasses together in a small bowl and combine with the dry ingredients, mixing well.
Turn the resulting dough out onto a lightly floured surface.
Knead the dough a few times and then roll it out with a lightly floured rolling pin until it’s about ¾” thick.
Cut the scones out of the flattened dough using a 1” biscuit cutter.
Brush dough scones with egg wash and place onto a lightly greased baking sheet.
Bake 12–15 minutes until well risen and golden brown on top, turning the baking tray halfway through baking time to ensure even baking.
Best served warm. Serve sliced in half and slathered with clotted cream.
Irish Kerrygold Garlic and Herb Butter Sauce with Lemon is fabulous
Happy New Year to everyone! If you are like me, one of your new year resolutions may be to eat more lean proteins, including fish. Well, Salmon is just what the doctor ordered, loaded with good kinda fats we need for healthy heart and brain function…so, check this out!
This recipe is just a sneak peak of one of the dishes I will be cooking this Spring on my new 2016 Cooking Class Series, and I am super excited to be hitting the road again thanks to my sponsors Kerrygold and the Aprons Publix Aprons cooking schools touring Florida and Georgia In addition to being on the Spring schedule with Wholefoods Salud cooking school, The Cooks Warehouse and Kitchen Warehouse Outfitters in Savannah…phew!
Some recipes I will need to keep as a secret for my students but I am giving a shout out to Kerrygold and my favorite ingredient for bathing and cooking fish (namely the garlic and herb butter). Using the Garlic and Herb infused butter makes the sauce super easy, super delicious and perfect for a week night family dinner. Under 30 minutes to prepare this lovely … Irish style)…dish!
So, look out for cooking classes near you because the Shamrock and Peach is about to go on the road this Spring…
Pan Seared Salmon with a Garlic and Herb Irish Butter Sauce on Irish Boxty Cakes, garnished with Watercress and Shaved Red Onion…
(for the salmon)
4 salmon fillets (4-6 oz pin bones removed and trimmed with the skin on)
1 Tbsp vegetable oil (such as canola)
Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
5 Tbsp Kerrygold Garlic and Herb butter
2 Tbsp shallots (very finely chopped)
2 Tbsp lemon juice
1 Tbsp baby capers (optional)
(for the garnish)
½ small red onion (very thinly shaved)
Small bunch of watercress
How to make it
To prepare the salmon, using a sharp knife score the skin and season the fillets with salt and freshly ground pepper.
Heat the canola oil and 1 Tbsp of the Garlic and Herb butter in a skillet over medium high heat. Once the butter starts to sizzling place the salmon skin side down and reduce the heat to medium.
Cook the fillets for about 4 minutes and then turn and cook for about 3 minutes more (the fish is ready when the thickest part of the salmon is flakey and opaque). Remove salmon from the pan and transfer to a warm oven.
To make the butter sauce and remaining 4 Tbsp of Kerrygold Garlic and Herb butter to the pan and sauté the shallots on medium heat and slowly incorporate the lemon juice and stir in the baby capers.
To serve place a Boxty cake with salmon fillet on top in the center of each plate. Spoon over the garlic and herb lemon butter sauce. Garnish with a little watercress and red onion.
I love this time of year, as I know many of you do also, and in concert with all the pumpkins and apples and Fall goodness may I present a new favorite for you…yep, White Chocolate Pumpkin Macaroons
Thanks to my friend Chloe, who just graduated in Baking and Patisserie Arts from Le Cordon Bleu in Atlanta, we created this seasonal fall Macaroon with a delicious Pumpkin and White Chocolate buttercream. yum.
We could not resist
Chloe and Judith
Here is the recipe for our Fall Macaroons (and thank you to the talented Chloe and we wish you every possible success for your future career in the Patisserie Arts)!
Pumpkin White Chocolate Macaroon
For the cookie:
4.23 oz almond flour/meal
7.05 oz confectioner’s sugar
3.17 oz egg whites (~3 large egg whites) at room temperature
¼ tsp cream of tartar
Pinch of salt
1.76 oz granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
Line two baking sheets with parchment paper
Prepare a pastry bag with a large round tip
Using a food processor, pulse the powdered sugar and almond flour into a powder
Sift several times until there is little to no almond bits left
In electric mixer, whisk egg whites, salt, and cream of tartar. Beat until egg whites foam
With mixer on medium high, add sugar 1-2 Tbsp at a time and continue until stiff peaks form
Add in vanilla and beat for an additional minute to incorporate
Sift the almond flour and confectioner’s sugar and gently fold into egg whites gradually
Transfer batter into pastry bag and pipe onto baking sheet, making evenly sized circles
Let shells sit for 20-30 minutes to dry. Check for a skin to form on the top of the cookie (should not stick to finger when touched)
Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Bake for 12-13 minutes or until shell has hardened. Be sure to rotate cookies halfway through baking
Cool completely on cookie sheets before peeling from the parchment
For the filling:
3/8 cup Kerrygold butter at room temperature
1/8-1/6 cup pumpkin puree
3/8 cup white chocolate
½ tsp vanilla extract
2-3 cups confectioner’s sugar
Prepare a piping bag with a large round tip
Whip the butter and pumpkin puree until fluffy and light in color
Melt the white chocolate over a double boiler and drizzle into the butter mixture while slowly continuing to whip
Once fully incorporated, add vanilla and continue to whip for 30 seconds longer
Gradually add the confectioner’s sugar until desired piping consistency has been reached
Transfer filling into the piping bag and pipe a small amount onto one cookie
Top with another cookie to make the macaroon sandwich
Mothers day is over in Ireland but it’s almost time to celebrate in the US. I know what I would like my boys to make me for brunch so I am posting this easy recipe hoping they may get the hint. Oh and I hope they do not forget the Mimosa (champagne and orange juice please)?
a slice of brnch heaven
Bacon, Leek and Sweet Potato Quiche
Sunday brunch is that relaxed kick back time where the pressures of the week schedule are gone and families come together. Brunch is also easy and fun for kids to prepare at home for their mums and nothing says I love you more than a warm baked quiche. Another beauty about quiche is that you truly can make it your own with regard to the fillings. I, for one am always transported back to my Irish roots when I cook with leeks and the addition of sweet potato is my southern twist.
Sweet Potato, Leek, Bacon with Irish Cheddar Quiche
(Baked pie shell)
1 ¼ cups all purpose flour (sifted)
1/4 tsp. salt
7 Tbsp. unsalted Kerrygold butter (chilled)
2-4 Tbsp. ice cold water
6 slices of apple wood smoked bacon (cut into strips)
1 medium leek (use mainly white part)
4 large eggs (beaten)
1 cup whipping cream
1 medium sweet potato (cooked and mashed)
¼ tsp. fine sea salt
1/8 tsp. white pepper
1 ½ cups Kerrygold Dubliner cheese (finely grated)
How to make it:
To make pastry combine flour and salt in a medium size bowl or food processor. Use a pastry fork or processor to cut in the butter until it resembles coarse crumbs. Sprinkle over the iced water 1 Tbsp. at a time and mix until the dough is moist enough to hold together to form a ball. Flatten in to a disc and wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
On a lightly floured surface roll out dough in to a circle about 11 inches in diameter for a 9”pie plate or fluted tart pan. Trim off any excess pastry and prick the bottom of the dough with a fork.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. To prevent over browning line pastry with a double layer of foil and bake for 10 minutes. Remove foil and bake pastry for a few more minutes until golden brown. Remove from oven and cool n a wire rack and leave the oven on.
To make filling in a large skillet cook bacon until crispy. Remove bacon and fat, reserving 2 Tbsp. to sauté leeks for 3-4 minutes or until soft and fragrant and remove from heat.
In a food processor or mixing bowl combine eggs, cream, mashed sweet potato, salt and pepper.
To assemble the quiche layer the leeks and bacon, cheese and then pour over the egg mixture.
Bake for 30-35 minutes or until the egg sets and is firm to the touch.
Allow quiche to sit for at least 15minutes before serving.
Judith baking Easter Hot Cross Buns with Sue Becker
Growing up in Ireland, Good Friday was the traditional time of year when we ate Hot Cross Buns and I am keeping the tradition alive by sharing it with my family in Atlanta -as I always do, however, this year, I asked my friend, and bread baking expert& entrepreneur Sue Becker to my home to teach me just some of her amazing yeast bread making skills. We ground our own wheat with theWonder Mill(click this link to find out more) and kneaded the dough in the amazing Ankarsrum mixer (click on this link to find out more) in what it seemed like no time at all…and yes, you MUST check this stuff out. Bread making has never been so easy, so tasty or so good for you…
The dough is made the night before and slowly rises in the refrigerator overnight so that the buns can be baked up fresh on Good Friday morning. This way, your family rise to the smells and Easter memories of wonderful baking bread – what could be better!
My boys are not big fans of the traditional currants and mixed peel so I added fresh apple and drizzled them with a Sea Salt Caramel icing, super yum. My hope is to create new memories by holding on to old traditions with a whole new generation – as some things should never die.
Hot Cross Buns with Grass Fed Kerrygold Butter
Making a cross design
Tips from the Master
Hot Cross Buns with Apple and Sea Salt Caramel
½ cup whole milk
½ cup water
1/3 cup unsalted Kerrygold butter (plus 2 Tbsp for greasing)
½ cup of sugar (or honey granules)
4 ½ tsp dry active yeast
1 large egg
2 tsp vanilla extract
3-3 ¼ cups of freshly milled hard white wheat flour
¾ tsp salt
¼ tsp nutmeg
1 tsp cinnamon
Zest of one lemon
1 granny smith apple (peeled and chopped)
(Sea Salt Caramel icing)
¼ cup salted Kerrygold butter
½ cup brown sugar (or evaporated can juice)
1/8 cup milk
1 1/2 cup powdered sugar (or honey granules)
¼ tsp light flaky sea salt
How to make them
Combine the water, milk and butter in a medium saucepan and warm over low heat until warm and butter is melted. Remove from heat and pour in to a large mixing bowl. Add the sugar or honey granules, 1 large egg yolk and vanilla and stir to combine.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, nutmeg and cinnamon. Stir in half the flour mixture, and then sprinkle the yeast in while continuing to mix. Mix in the rest of the flour to form slightly sticky dough. Stir n the lemon zest and chopped apple. Knead until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes. Shape in to a ball.
Brush the inside of a large bowl with 1 Tbsp butter. Put dough in to bowl, burning to coat lightly with butter. Cover with plastic wrap. Let rise at room temperature until doubled in size, about 1 hour. Dough can be made the night before and allowed to rise in the refrigerator overnight.
To form the rolls butter a 9×14 inch baking pan. Turn the dough out of the bowl and using a bench scrapper divide in to 12 equal portions, about 2 ounces each.
Tuck the edges of the dough under to make round rolls and place them seam-side down in the prepared pan, leaving a little space in between each roll. With a sharp knife cut a cross in the top of each roll. Set aside in a warm place until the rolls rise doubled in size, about 25-30 minutes.
Meanwhile, position the rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 387 degrees F.
Once rise, brush the tops of the buns with beaten egg white. Bake rolls until golden, brown and fluffy, and an instant read thermometer inserted in to the center of the rolls registers 190 degrees F, about 20 minutes. Remove from oven and cool on a cooling rack.
To make the caramel icing melt the butter and brown sugar/evaporated cane juice and milk and cook for 2 minutes. Beat in the powdered sugar/honey granules.
Drizzle the icing over buns to emphasize the cross shape.
Enjoy, happy baking and happy Easter to you and yours!
leek and Potato Soup (with Spring Onion Puree and Garlic and Garlic and Herb Dubliner Croutons)
This cold spell even in “Hotlanta” (Atlanta) is bringing me to the soup kitchen and conjuring up flavors from my Irish homeland. There are a few special soups that for me represent Ireland in a bowl and this recipe no doubt is high on my favorites list.
Truth be told, I am a huge ‘soup person’, and this one is creamy, flavorful and satisfying with a buttery spring onion puree topped with crunchy garlic & herb butter and Dubliner cheese croutons. Satisfying indeed on a cold night! – The amount of Irish butter in the initial sauté seems rather indulgent but I promise you it creates a magnificent taste and texture.
As in previous years, this week I am again heading to Florida with my sponsor (Kerrygold) for a St. Patrick’s day tour of Publix Aprons cooking schools – and I’m so excited to get out there and meet folks, and share what’s great about Ireland! If you live near Sarasota, Tampa, Lakeland, Orlando, Jacksonville, Tallahassee or Atlanta please check out the event page of my website and come and see me. -This soup is one of the yummy features on my very Irish menu just in time for St. Patrick’s day!
Leek and Potato Soup with Chive Puree and Kerrygold Garlic and herb croutons
4 oz Kerrygold salted butter
1 medium onion (diced)
2 large leeks sliced (use mainly the white part)
5 medium potatoes (4 cups potatoes peeled and diced)
2 ½ pints Chicken Stock
1 tsp kosher salt
1/8 freshly ground pepper
2 Tbsp of cream
(for the spring onion puree)
4 spring onions (chopped)
Fine sea salt
4 Tbsp Kerrygold salted Irish butter (melted)
(for the garlic and herb cheese croutons)
3 slices of day old baguettes (cut in to cubes)
4 Tbsp Kerrygold garlic and herb butter
1 oz Dubliner cheese (finely grated)
How to make it:
In a heavy based saucepan melt the butter over low heat. Add the leeks and onions allowing them to “sweat” until they are fragrant.
Add the stock and potatoes and season with salt and pepper.
Stir to combine on medium heat and bring to a boil. Cover and then turn the temperature down allowing the soup to gently simmer for about 20-25 minutes or until the potatoes are soft.
Allow the soup to cool slightly before using an emulsion blender to smooth.
To make the spring onion purees blanch the spring onions in salted boiling water for just less than 1 minute. Strain and place in Ice water. Transfer to a blender to puree. On low heat melt Kerrygold butter and slowly drizzle in to the puree to create froth.
To make the croutons preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Melt the butter and toss in the bread cubes. Bake for 10-15 minutes turning half way or until crunchy and toasted. Sprinkle Dubliner over croutons for 1 more minute to melt.
To serve the soup return to heat and bring to a gentle boil. Lower the temperature and finish the soup by adding the cream. Taste to adjust for seasoning. Serve in individual bowls with a drizzle of the frothy spring onion puree and a few garlic and herb cheesy croutons.